The new variant | Pakistan Today

The new variant

  • Stopping the spread is crucial

There is a new variant of the coronavirus which is taking over the UK and Europe, which has caused the government to ban flights from the UK in the hope of stopping its spread. The first case of the variant has now been confirmed in Karachi. It should be noted that the new variant is cropping up all over the world, which implies that it is a variant which is better than the original strain at replicating itself. The first information about the new strain is that it is more infectious, but not directly more deadly. Of course, greater infectiousness would give the impression of greater deadliness, because the fatality rate remains the same. This greater infectiousness means a faster spread, and thus the greater number of infections and thus deaths. An increased rate of infections would also place a greater strain on medical resources, as the same number of medical professionals would have to face a greater surge in infections with the same amount of equipment.

The government needs to learn from past experience, and needs to throw its memory back less than a year, when quarantine measures taken on pilgrims returning from Iran, which was a centre of infection, were rendered ineffective by the release of people into the general population who had not yet proven their freedom from infection. One problem with inadequate quarantine provision, including near impossible living conditions, is that people seek premature escape. This time around, there must be strict quarantine, without exception based on how powerful is the person asking for premature release, or the healthcare system may just collapse. It should not be forgotten that this new variant, which represents a new challenge, is coming at a time when the weather conditions are such that an increase in the number of infections is certain. Though there has never been a relaxed time since the pandemic began, this is perhaps a worse time than, say, midsummer. The government must ensure that this time it is part of the solution. That way, it may make up for the past sins which led to such fumbling when the coronavirus arrived.